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Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History$
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Alexander Bieri

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381373

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381373.001.0001

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Company History as an Opportunity and Challenge for University Academics:

Company History as an Opportunity and Challenge for University Academics:

The Example of the Günther Quandt Group from the Nineteenth Century to 1954

(p.63) Company History as an Opportunity and Challenge for University Academics
Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History

Joachim Scholtyseck

Liverpool University Press

Historians are faced with manifold challenges when tackling histories of companies or banks – publishing studies on corporate archives is very attractive, but the more prominent the company is, the more these historians will find their work scrutinized. Academic freedom is highly valued by researchers, but becomes a prerequisite for research on companies active during epochs of totalitarianism, as chances of digging up murky records are high. If academic historians subordinate themselves under corporations, they will inevitably harm their reputations. Conversely, corporations must risk being confronted with facts that aren't in line with their expectations of untainted success. For family-owned companies, confrontation with history may be more painful than for "anonymous" stock corporations. To avoid irritations, trust and precise agreements are helpful. This article explores these issues, using the Günther Quandt Group – a textile, electrical and defense engineering firm built from the late 1800s to 1950s – as a case study.

Keywords:   Academic freedom, corporate archives, Günther Quandt Group, research on companies

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